Microsoft Will Require Windows SP1 For Final IE9


"Organizations must plan, pilot, and deploy Internet Explorer 9 as part of or after a Windows 7 SP1 deployment," the FAQ reads. Tech blog Ars Technica first reported the SP1 requirement on Thursday.

In contrast to Vista SP1, Microsoft customers aren't paying much attention to Windows 7 SP1, which is now in public beta and is slated to arrive in the first half of 2011. Windows 7 SP1 includes security updates and other minor additions, among them an updated Remote Desktop client that takes advantage of RemoteFX, which Microsoft introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft has been crowing about the "overwhelming" demand it's seeing for the IE9 beta, which had more than two million downloads in its first two days after launch. At the same time, Microsoft is advising businesses to hold off on IE9 until the final version is released.

Companies that migrate to Windows 7 and familiarize themselves with IE8 will have a much smoother migration to IE9, according to Microsoft. "Your investments in Internet Explorer 8 will put your business on the path to realizing the benefits of Internet Explorer 9 when it becomes commercially available," said Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows commercial marketing at Microsoft, in a blog post Tuesday.

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This is similar to the advice Microsoft gave in the months before launching Windows 7, when it said companies using XP that moved to Windows Vista first would have a much easier time upgrading to the new release. Of course, Vista had all the appeal of a bedbug infestation, and Microsoft's advice was largely ignored and companies stuck with XP.

IE8 isn't a bad product, but early reviews of IE9 suggest that it's a vast upgrade. Faster performance seems to be the biggest draw, as Microsoft has added support for HTML5 and included a new Javascript engine, code-named Chakra, which takes advantages of multi-core CPUs and taps into unused graphics card processor (GPU) resources to speed Web page rendering.